The next big thing for influencers is less influencing

As the economy falters, influencers may lose clients and connections with their audiences.

Coming this season to your TikTok feed: fewer Gen-Z digital stars posing with Louis Vuitton bags.

According to Wired, influencers and the brands who pay them are reconsidering their roles as inflation dents wallets, energy prices soar in Europe, and the world flirts with a global recession.

Budget tightening has come for influencers already…

… but only a little. Industry experts told Insider that influencing will be more resilient to a teetering economy than other forms of digital marketing.

Optics, as much as budgets, may lead to greater changes.

Last month, British TikTok influencer Lydia Millen (805k+ followers) lost heat in her home — very relatable during an energy crisis. Then she checked into an opulent Victorian-era hotel while showing off ~$39k worth of designer goods — not so relatable. The blowback was immense.

To ward off similar criticism, New York influencer Sophie Wood told Wired she has switched her focus to more sustainable and ethical brands, trying to avoid marketing frivolous products in a tough economy.

Of course, we’re talking about luxury brands here…

… whose target customers scroll TikTok on their personal yachts. The filthy rich won’t face major problems from a recession and are less likely to be offended by ostentatious displays of wealth.

That means brands are not going to halt influencer ads altogether. More likely, per Wired, they will reduce their pool of influencers, using those who have developed the most trust with consumers.

At the least: Experts say influencers will be more cautious and gracious as they address their audiences. So you might see an influencer give a shoutout to everyone struggling to pay their heating bills before flaunting their Manolo Blahniks in a $1k/night hotel room.

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